Welcome to 2014, where you can buy legal marijuana and pot-related startups are advertising in the New York Times.
Seattle-based Leafly, a marijuana strain resource that won GeekWire’s App of the Year award in May, is placing a full-page ad in Sunday’s edition of The New York Times tomorrow. This marks the first time that the Times has run an advertisement from a cannabis company.
The ad will run just as the Times’ week-long in-depth editorial series on marijuana, which supported national legalization, comes to an end. It’s also timely given the Compassionate Care Act, which made New York the 23rd state to legalize medical marijuana and was signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on July 7.
Leafly’s ad features the tagline “Just Say Know,” and encourages medical marijuana patients to check out Leafly’s database of more than 800 different cannabis strains and products, in addition to information related to dispensaries. The marketing move comes on the heels of Leafly’s full-page ad in the Seattle Times that ran on the same day Washington opened sales for recreational marijuana last month.
“We got a lot of good feedback from that Seattle Times ad, and this is kind of a continuation of that,” Leafly co-founder Cy Scott said. “Combined with the New York Times’ editorial position, it made a lot of sense to publish an ad with them to raise awareness about Leafly.”
Scott noted that the Leafly ad “went all the way up the chain for approval,” to run in the New York Times tomorrow.
“It’s just a good sign that a publication of this size is happy to take us on as an advertiser,” he said.
Leafly, founded in 2010, has been seeing big spikes in app traffic and downloads for the past few weeks as states like Washington and New York approve laws that legalize marijuana.
The company has been able to fund marketing efforts like the full-page ads thanks to Privateer Holdings, a Seattle-based private equity holding company that has acquired four marijuana-related companies in the past four years, including Leafly. Most recently, Privateer raised $18.6 million of a $75 million Series B round that the firm plans to close later this month.
Leafly, meanwhile, employs 30 and will have a new app coming out in the next few months — one that Scott called a “big game changer for us and the industry.”
Check out the New York Times ad here: